Product Manager Weekly Reading #13

Every week, we curate some of the best product reads and post links to help you learn more about product management!

1) Build a Product that Only a Few People Want, But Want Desperately

Rahul Varshneya, co-founder of Arkenea and Foster, talks about how building only for a small audience that desperately needs your solution can help your business become successful.

2) Minimum Viable Products, Exceptional Products, and Cupcakes 

Jerry Cao of UXPin, writes about building MVPs using the Cupcake Model, where product teams start with a smaller yet complete product that is more desirable.

3) Creating a Process for Customer Acquisition – With Sample Experiments

Brandon Gains, Growth Marketing Lead for Referral SaaSquatch, provides examples of experiments that product teams can start to run for customer acquisition campaigns.

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6 Types of Products That PMs Manage

I was re-reading the excellent Cracking the PM Interview recently and came across a great topic to discuss for this week’s post. Product managers manage products of all shapes and sizes, and it can be daunting for aspiring PMs just to figure out what sort of products might fit their strengths, interests, or even work-life balance preferences. I’ll be summarizing the 6 most common types of products that PMs manage and bring in some examples from my own projects.

1. Shipped Software

Shipped software are products delivered to stores, whether that’s physical (think CDs of programs at Best Buy) or digital (Apple App Store). The exploding popularity of smartphones in the past decade or so has led to mobile apps becoming the one of the most common types of shipped software.

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Product Manager Weekly Reading #12

Every week, we curate some of the best product reads and post links to help you learn more about product management!

1) Dropbox Makers: From Consulting to Product Management

Genevieve Sheehan, Dropbox Product Manager, discusses how she created her own path to move from her consulting career into product management.

2) Getting Customer Insights with User Tests

Hubspot discusses the process of setting up user testing to improve the onboarding experience and achieve a 400% lift on one of their KPIs.

3) First Round Capital – Building Internal Products to Fuel Major Growth

Noah Brier, CEO at Percolate, reveals in an exclusive interview why product-oriented startups should build internal tools early, and how to get everyone on board to boost efficiency.

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A/B Testing

In a previous post about quantitative vs. qualitative research, I briefly mentioned A/B testing as a type of quantitative research product managers should be familiar with. This post will cover A/B testing in more detail – we’ll take a look at what it is, why it’s important, how it’s done, and some examples.

What Is A/B Testing?

One example of A/B testing is testing changes on a page design against the current design which allows the team to pick the design that produces better results. In order to do this, two versions of the page are shown to similar visitors at the same time. For example, half of visitors would see version A of the page, and the other half would see version B of the page.

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Product Manager Weekly Reading #11

Every week, we curate some of the best product reads and post links to help you learn more about product management!

1) How Twitch Won the Hearts and Minds of Millions in their Community

Marcus Graham, Twitch’s (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion) Director of Community and Education discusses how the company used in-person user feedback initiatives to connect Twitch with its community.

2) How We Transformed HubSpot Into a Product Driven Company

David Cancel, Chief Product Officer at Hubspot, discusses how teams are structured at his company to optimize for non-stop testing and continuous product improvement.

3) The Case for Talking to Users in the Age of Big Data

Matt Gallivan, UX Research Manager at Facebook, explains why observing users in person provides companies with crucial qualitative data that surveys and behavioral data simply can’t provide.

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Product Management in an Innovation Lab

I wanted to switch things up a bit this week and share some of my recent experiences as a PM in an innovation lab. What are innovation labs? These internal labs are typically found in larger companies with more bureaucracy.

The point of the innovation lab is to strip all the process away, explore ideas that aren’t part of the typical product roadmap, and build a working prototype to validate whether that idea works, all in a very short amount of time. Essentially, it’s a larger company’s way to tap into the speed and flexibility that many startups offer and to experiment on ideas that might be risky but potentially have large payoffs for the company down the line.

Innovation lab teams are usually much smaller than typical teams at the company, focusing on just the right amount of people with the right amount of skills for the idea and prototype. In my experience this includes a designer (UX or Creative), product manager, and a variety of developers and site architects. The group works in close proximity, oftentimes in the same room or lab, and apart from an initial idea or challenge, everything else is left up to the team to decide in terms of schedule and execution.

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